Experts say the COVID-19 “disaster” in California will get worse


Barbara Ferrer, the director of public health in Los Angeles County, made an open statement about the circumstances of the region’s coronavirus, calling this time – nearly nine months later – the most difficult moment of the pandemic.

Both the cases and the hospitalizations reached unprecedented levels. And officials fully expect conditions to deteriorate rapidly in the coming weeks, following Thanksgiving gatherings and other holiday-related events.

“The current growth is unsustainable,” Ferrer said. “They are unsustainable because they will oppress not only our health care system, but the health care system of the entire state.”

Such predictions have also been reported by government officials and public health experts.

Here’s an overview of what to expect in the coming weeks as COVID-19 infections continue to multiply.

Where are we going with hospital care?


The county has surpassed the previous 2232 hospital highs established on July 18th. According to data released on Monday, 2,316 people with confirmed coronavirus infection were registered in hospitals in the county on Sunday. The rate of increasing hospital care in LA County has been breathtaking, tripling the 777 for Halloween.

There was also record hospital treatment throughout California.

Of particular concern is the capacity of intensive care units. Currently, about 75% of the state’s 7,733 ICU beds are occupied – 1,812 of them are filled by COVID-19 patients.

According to the latest data, 7887 patients with coronavirus were hospitalized by Sunday data. This is the highest number registered in a pandemic – the COVID-19 hospital record was broken for the second consecutive day. This is nearly a tripling of hospitalizations since Nov. 2, when 2,602 people were in coronavirus hospitalized.

COVID-19 cases requiring intensive care have tripled since October 14, when 600 people were admitted to the intensive care unit. On Sunday, 1812 ICU cases were reported.

What are the forecasts?

The latest data largely do not include the latest outbreaks of infections – as hospitalizations for COVID-19 reflect cases identified two to three weeks earlier, says Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Department of Health and Human Services.

Governor Gavin Newsom said the state could exhaust its existing ICU capacity by mid-December on Monday.

The rural counties of Northern California may exceed ICU capacity by mid-December, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley by mid-December, the Sacramento area by late December, and the Gulf area by early January.

“If these trends continue, we need to take much more dramatic – arguably drastic – actions,” Newsom said at a briefing.

According to Newsom, about 59% of California hospital beds are currently occupied by patients who need care for all sorts of reasons – but that could rise to 78% by Christmas Eve.

He stressed that the alarm numbers will come true if “we are just leaning back and observing at this moment and not improving on our existing efforts later”.

What do the experts say?

Hospitals are better equipped to treat the COVID wave than in the spring. Medical care has improved and there is great opportunity to open additional facilities if needed. Yet, with growing infections across the state, hard-hit counties may find it harder to rely on other areas to receive patients.

Experts say with advances in medical treatments and knowledge of the disease over the past nine months, they hope that a smaller proportion of those infected with the virus will die in this wave compared to their lives lost in the spring or summer.

But these developments could be jeopardized by overcrowding in hospitals as medical staff are strained and unable to provide the health care essential to save the lives of the sickest patients, experts told the Los Angeles Times.

Overall, public health experts say this is a dangerous moment.

– Brutal. Amazingly bad. … They mean seriously, seriously bad numbers, ”said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist and infectious disease control expert at UC San Francisco. “We have no place to decompress patients because the same bad things are happening in Oregon, Nevada and Arizona.

“We are here ourselves and it is a natural disaster. And we need to be able to avoid the worst possible parts. And if you’ve ever had time to prevent and listen to advice, that’s it.

What can be done?

Los Angeles County has imposed controversial restrictions, including suspending outdoor restaurants, banning gatherings and closing playgrounds. Officials hope these measures could slow the rate of infections.

Newsom on Monday raised the “possibility of staying home” to areas in California that are on a reopening schedule at the strictest or purple levels of the coronavirus.

“We’re going to give out some more information,” Newsom said, “with some more recommendations in the very, very near future.”

Ferrer added, “We really have no choice but to use all the tools at hand to stop the surge. As long as there is no vaccine, we must all protect all those around us – both those we know and those we don’t.

“The virus is raging in almost every part of our county.”